Three, Two, One…Stop Whining

Most people are fascinated with the stories of immigrants. The stories of struggles, of traveling, of leaving everything they’ve ever known, that really touches them in a very realistic way. As an immigrant myself, I’ve encountered frequent questions about where I came from and the struggles I faced as a newcomer to America, as well as a businessman. They give me tremendous praise for coming from a faraway country and achieving business success, often attributing it to my perseverance as a non-native. It’s time for me to set the record straight — Being an immigrant has nothing to do with being successful.

Yeah, I know it sounds shocking, but let’s get to the bottom of it.

Entrepreneurs like me don’t have a dream of what they want to be when they grow up. It’s more like we see the world for the plethora of opportunities that are possible and pick and choose from there. Setting our sights on only one goal would make it impossible to take advantage of any other chance at success. That’s crazy.

Why limit yourself to only one success when you could potentially have dozens? What sense does that make? That’s the mental equivalent of being on a desert island and choosing to eat nothing and starving to death waiting on someone to build a Burger King.

I never knew exactly where I wanted to be, until I decided to be there. I flitted from one successful endeavor to another as the world presented the opportunities to me. Stopping wasn’t an option because there was no plan B.

So when people attribute everything to being an immigrant, they are oversimplifying my character. It’s not where you came from that instills a greater drive for better. That trait, for good or for ill, is in people from the time they take their first breath. The “American Dream” isn’t just for immigrants. The “American Dream” is there for anyone with the guts to take hold of their own destiny and put themselves out there. There is no manual for success, and you only fail if you stop trying.

Will there be struggle? Absolutely. Will there be sacrifices? Hell, yes. But ask anyone who is truly happy with their lives, they all have very similar stories. They had to give up some things to achieve anything. That’s the nature of life. The moment you start thinking it’s impossible, it’s over. Adaptability is the key for success in this world.

Whatever makes you happy, it’s achievable. Whether it’s the bravery of going back to school after getting laid off or leaving the workplace to pursue your dream of being a stay-at-home mom, success isn’t measured by having millions in your bank account. Success is measured by the risks we take and the happinesses we achieve. Want to get out of debt? Stop wasting your money on self-help gurus and live within your means. Want to be a manager of a company? Go for the promotion and let the people in charge know how much you want it. Put yourself out there, always.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if you’re an immigrant or not. It’s the drive and adaptability to always find a solution. Maybe that is why you hear about so many immigrants being successful, there is no Plan B. They can’t choose to go back home if things don’t work out.

So, there you have it. The secret of immigrant success or success for anyone: there isn’t one. Put your big-boy pants on, stop whining, go out there, and make something happen.